This book is the real life story of a divorce in the form of a diary, hopefully funny and reflective of the state of mind during divorce. This is one entry, opinions appreciated.
Sunday Nov. 1st
The only real physical altercation which took place during our divorce nightmare occurred today. Although in hindsight the fact that the judge had effectively forced us to live in the same house whilst other issues were being sorted out was an explosive situation to begin with. Rather strangely in order to comprehend the day’s events you must first understand how the internet functions in our house. In a small corner of the dinning room the phone socket is connected into a splitter from which one cable goes the base unit of the wireless phone system and another to the internet modem. The modem is then connected to a wireless router which broadcasts the internet around the house i.e. WIFI. This was in essence a messy collection of wires interconnecting three boxes which had been attached to the wall with a few small screws. It wasn’t very pleasing to the eye but it functioned and I left it alone as it was hidden from view.
The problem that Sunday morning was that the wireless on my laptop had ceased functioning so I needed a wired connection to the internet to do some vital surfing and send emails that Sunday morning. My wife would of course not give me her lap-top to do this. My only solution to this was to sit down at the dinner table and disconnect the cable from the modem going to the router and plug it directly into my lap-top so that I could use the internet. However, the effect of this was to cut off the WIFI in the house and this would mean my wife could not surf or send emails, but that didn’t concern me. My wife appeared in the dining room within less than a minute and demanded I reconnect the internet as she was downloading an important file. Not feeling in a particularly receptive mood after the previous day’s events I said I would be finished in fifteen minutes and she could wait. This obviously wasn’t the right response as my wife ripped the splitter off the wall along with some cables. I then grabbed the modem in the realisation that if she got these two boxes she could reconnect the boxes via a phone socket in her room and totally control the internet in the house. We both went for the wireless router and ended up tussling for it. However, after about fifteen seconds of struggling we both froze as almost instantly both of us had obviously realised that we had a potential assault claim against each other and this was simply too valuable to waste with actually finishing the physical contest over the router. You see we were now experienced in the science of allegations and this had thought us that you had to be first to make an allegation in order for it to have any credibility. If you make a counter allegation in response to a primary allegation then it looks like you are simply making fictitious allegation in order to deflect your guilt. It is absolutely vital that you get your allegation in first otherwise it is all but worthless. We disengaged and ran to our respective rooms with the innards of the communications system dangling from our hands. Both doors slammed simultaneously. However, I realised that I could not email the allegation to my wife, copied of course to my lawyer, as we had just cut the internet off for everyone.
These emails had taken a pretty standard legalistic form at this stage, something along the lines of “John, just this evening at 1752 you approached me in a highly aggressive manner and demanded that I remove myself from the kitchen. I was shocked by the tone of your voice and feared that you were going to use the flour sieve resting beside your hand and threaten me in contravention of Section 2(1) of the Offences Against the Person Act 1873. Your behaviour is symptomatic of the aggressive campaign you have been waging against me in order to intimidate me out of this house. ” The point wasn’t to actually to communicate with the your spouse but rather to establish evidence which cast your spouse in a bad light and which could be used later on during the custody or property dispute in court. Whether it was actually true was not important.
Some people collected stamps and the rarer the stamp the better, warring couples collect allegations. In fact your thinking becomes highly attuned to searching for potential behaviour that could be turned into an allegation and within weeks you have the skill honed to a razor edge. The problem is that so does your spouse and if she gets her allegation in first then she potentially has the valuable stamp and you don’t. So even if you don’t want to play this legal game you have to otherwise your spouse will have all the allegations and you will spend all of your time responding to them and looking guilty of everything and anything. In other words, you have to get her before she gets you.
Normal everyday behaviour presents hundreds of opportunities to find such allegations which the well trained eye can spot. When a glass drops and breaks it isn’t just a normal household accident which requires you to sweep it up and put it in the bin. For divorcing couples looking for dirt, it is evidence of a glass thrown in rage, an attempted assault. The truth doesn’t matter, a glass is broken on the floor and it can be used as the kernel for almost anything. A child falls off their bicycle and skins their knee is clearly parental neglect. How fast was the child going, was he supervised properly? You mean you didn’t even bother to put on knee pads on our child? Everyday life is just a minefield if only you know where to look.
However, this morning without the email functioning the only way to convey this allegation of assault was to text it to my wife, which like an email also contained a vital time and date stamp. I got out my mobile phone and I presumed my wife did exactly the same although she may just have begun writing an email without yet realising she could not send it as she had just ripped the means of doing so from the wall. My mind raced as to how to describe the events in the shortest number of words so that I could get send the text before she potentially did. She would then be on weaker ground responding to my allegation of assault.
My mind turned quickly through every possible phrase and I arrived at the perfunctory sentence “you assaulted me in dining room now”. I realised every second that passed meant that I could be beaten to the post and come second in the allegations race. I cursed my sweating fingers and the intuitive text for not being intuitive enough as I typed the message in. I scrolled through my phonebook to find my wife’s mobile number and like the slow motion finish of a Hollywood sports movie it seemed to take an eternity for my thumb to descend on the send button and then endure the long wait for the magic phrase Message Sent to flash on the small screen. I leaped with joy as I had clearly crossed the finish line first and achieved a great victory. I jumped and thrust my hands into the air. Then in order to copper fasten my enormous victory I knew a contemporaneous reliable witness would be needed for the no doubt upcoming assault trial. I ran from my room pausing only to lock it and descended the stairs in a few bounds and out the front door. I bounded down the fifty or so meters to my neighbours house who was a good friend and a professor to boot. I could just see the trial now and Professor King ascending to the witness stand. How could a professor lie, it is impossible. Mr. James must clearly have been assaulted by his wife the jury would conclude if he told Professor King and Professor King told us. These thoughts propelled me to run even faster before my wife decided to ring the King’s first on her mobile to try to beat me to the post. In hindsight it is clear to me at this stage that Professor King and his good wife were probably contacting their estate agents on an almost daily basis in order to sell their house and move to New Zealand to escape their deranged neighbours. Both had unwisely remained on good terms with both of us and so had to endure frequent visits from both us as we implored them to grasp the profoundly evil nature of the other spouse. Nonetheless when Mark opened the door what he saw probably encouraged him to accelerate the sales process by reducing the asking price for his home to zero. I was out of breath, sweating and holding a few cables which my confusion I had not left behind me. I looked at my watch and blurted out “It’s 8.58 AM on Sunday the 1st and she assaulted me in the dining room. You got that Mark, eight-fifty-eight AM on Sunday the 1st and she assaulted me”. I verbally underlined and bolded the time and date so that he would not forget it. He looked slightly perplexed but I think his main emotion was fear. However, not being satisfied with trying to have the woman I swore to honour and protect convicted of assault I also added in that “She also a thief! She stole my splitter and I have the receipt for it. It was bought in my name not hers, my name! I can get the receipt now and show it to you if you don’t believe me.” He was a man with the patience of Job as he suggested I come in for a cup of coffee and talk it all over which might presumably calm me down. However, I explained I didn’t have time for coffee as I had to go my lawyer’s office. Mike pointed out that it was early Sunday morning and he it was highly unlikely to be open and in either case he probably wouldn’t want to be disturbed. Nonetheless, I couldn’t process this because I could not believe he would not wish to be instantly informed in person about my victory in getting my allegation in first against my no doubt soon to be imprisoned wife. The five minute run to my lawyer’s house was only interrupted by the joy of receiving a text from my wife which said “I never assaulted you, you assaulted me you bastard”. This sweet joy of victory kept me on a high for hours. I had secured first place in this vital allegation race and this only accelerated my pace to my lawyer’s office. My wife was now denying my allegation which was almost total victory.
My lawyer had made three mistakes. First, he became a lawyer who specialised in divorce. Second, he took on clients in the same town as he actually lived in. And finally, his most fatal mistake, he operated from an office attached to his home and so his clients knew where he was most of the time. In previous years I had often driven by his home, not knowing anything about him, and I had always wondered why there were frequently people outside it at such strange hours with slightly crazed looks on their faces. They were usually walking up and down whilst talking into their mobile phones. And now there I was, standing outside his home ringing his bell to no avail. I presumed his bell wasn’t working so I rang his office number and began blurting in exasperated tones at his answering machine. Not satisfied with this I rang directory enquiries to find his home number which strangely was unlisted.
You see my lawyer having realised his three errors had turned his house into a version of Hitler’s bunker. He could exist in the house cut off from all outside contact because this was the only way he could possibly get any peace when he wasn’t working. He had a large fence along the front of his home which was out of kilter with its rather modest nature and the gate which was set into the fence was operated on a buzzer system. In short there was no access to the residential portion of his house and you could not see the house through the gate, I know I tried, because of some strategically grown plants and bushes. Unfortunately his clients were a rather persistent lot and would hang around pressing the buzzer and trying to ring him on their mobiles and this is what I did. I paced up and down outside his home like a Hollywood stalker until I got bored and left. I simply could not grasp that he would not wish to be instantly informed of the latest developments.
Meanwhile I presume he sat at his kitchen table reading the Sunday papers with the buzzer on the gate permanently disconnected and enjoying a cup of coffee. In short his was living a normal life whilst I was running through the streets like a deranged lunatic. But of course one doesn’t realise this at the time. When I arrived home I saw my wife talking to Mark’s wife in an excitable tone she was waving around the splitter box and no doubt falsely re-enacting her crime for Liz. The cheap lies she was now peddling to Liz would be seen for what they are by the jury because it was I who had spoken to the Professor at 8.58AM.
Later on in the day did the actual reality of our situation dawned on me and presumably my wife. We had neither a landline phone nor internet connection to the house and you see these were absolutely vital to our lives. Each evening was filled with many hours typing out long emails to our equally long-suffering friends and acquaintances as we explained the outrageous behaviour of our spouse to them. The phone was equally vital as when emails were insufficient in bombarding friends I would ring them and explain the truly malevolent nature of the woman I was married to. Thus we both realised that it was in our own self-interest that the communications system be put back in a working order. Nevertheless, actual productive communication between the two of us was impossible so we would each ring a person whom we both knew would talk to another friend who would more than likely communicate the information to the other spouse. Thus via this process a form of mediation could take place without conceding anything. Thus I rang ring Oliver and explained how my wife had assaulted me and stolen my internet router thus cutting the house off from the 21st century. No doubt my wife rang Amanda with her pathetic lies and said pretty much the same. Amanda then presumably rang Oliver and the two of them decided to suggest to both of us that the other person replace their respective components. Oliver and Amanda knew each other and as rationale adults they could see the solution in seconds whereas we couldn’t at that stage. How these friends didn’t actually commit ritualistic suicide to escape their tormented lives I don’t know. Nonetheless the crux of the issue was that I wasn’t going to replace my parts first because it might concede that this, all but convicted criminal, I was living with would clearly see this as a victory and it would weaken my hand in the no doubt upcoming assault trial. After many phone calls back and forth Amanda and Oliver did the only thing possible to end the madness and drove over to our house and collected the various components from us individually and reconnected everything and left in exasperation returning to their normal Sunday afternoon. Although, I suspect they later bitterly regretted this act as what they really should have done was to take all the components out to the driveway and smash them into very small pieces so that they actually might have some chance of obtaining some peace and quiet for a few days. With the internet functioning again I heard my wife typing away on her computer. No doubt spewing her distorted version of events to her two-bit lawyer. I then ran downstairs so that I could email my lawyer from my laptop and explain the latest developments and arrange for the police to be informed of the extensive criminal activities of my wife. I was 100% certain that detectives would be turning up within days to bring my wife in for a tough questioning. However, as my hand disconnected the cable from the modem to the router and connected it to my laptop I realised I had cut off the wireless internet again and my wife would soon realise this when she tried to send her email and so, in a rare moment of sanity, I reconnected it back to the router. I had achieved a significant victory over my adulterous criminal wife today and I was satisfied with that. No point having a round two which I might lose. I would send the email tomorrow when my wife was gone out. I savoured my victory for the rest of the day.
This is well written. The only thing I might suggest is that you use commas properly to help your sentences flow better. You have a great start on a book.
yes your right, a common flaw of mine. This is actually about 30 pages into the book I was just looking for comments on general writing style. I have had a number of technical books published already but I always had editors etc to tidy up my work. I am looking at kindle for this as mainstream publishing isnt worth it. If you get 8% to 10% of the cover price you are lucky. Then you have an agent etc.
you really may wish to HUB this, too long for a Forum, but an excelent topic, I will say.
I loved it. Thankfully I've never been through a divorce but I can well imagine a lot of people who are or have been through one will find that this strikes a real chord.
One or two small things - for example, you used "rationale" where you should have used "rational" and "meter" instead of the UK spelling "metre" (I assume you're British judging by your vocabulary and the way you write). And I would break the longer paragraphs up into two or three smaller ones.
Thanks. I moved it to http://hubpages.com/hub/BookOpinion like one poster suggested and fixed it up a bit.
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